Alpine Slide, photo courtesy of Park City Mountain Resort/Dan Campbell
It made perfect sense. Instead of closing down ski slopes in the summer, to unlock the doors, start the lifts and introduce new outdoor activities.
The opportunity to hike the ski runs in the summer months has always been possible. To bike, slide or ride a lift in summer clothing came later.
Here in Utah, Park City Mountain Resort started things off with its Alpine Slide. Other resorts followed.
One of my favorite summer activities is riding the Snowbird Tram to the summit of Hidden Peak and hiking down with the family. As a family, we’d pack a lunch, stop along the trail, spread the blanket and enjoy the scenery and the cooler temperatures before heading down.
What made this a great family outing is, as noted, it’s all downhill, so it’s kid-friendly. Taken early enough in the summer, there are patches of snow to play on. And, as always, there’s beautiful scenery to enjoy.
A ride down PCMR’s Alpine Slide has also became a family tradition. The slide is, after all, one of the longest in the world—3,000 feet. A lift takes you up and you control the speed down. Go as fast as your nerves allow.
Utah Olympic Park's Zipline, photo courtesy of Utah Olympic Park
Zipline: Utah Olympic Park’s Extreme Zipline offers two adventures—the ride down and aerial look at an Olympic ski jump. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to lifting off the 120-meter Olympic jump. It is one of the steepest ziplines in the world and goes from the top of the jump to the bottom at 50-plus miles per hour.
Hiking: Alta is for skiers and wildflowers. The fields of wildflowers that cover the runs in the summer are nothing short of spectacular.
Coasters: One of the newest rides is the Mountain Coaster at Snowbird. I haven’t tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to a run. It’s 3,120 feet of banked, twisting turns in a two-person sled. Park City has a similar ride, the Alpine Coaster, which is a cousin to the Alpine Slide. Asked to pick it’s a tossup between PC’s Slide and Coaster.
Mountain biking, photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort
Biking: Deer Valley was the first to offer lift-served mountain biking and has one of the most expansive trail systems—roughly 400 miles. Luckily, there are some easy, single-track trails for novice bikers. Nine of Utah’s 14 resorts offer lift-served mountain biking—Brian Head, Canyons, Eagle Point, Park City Mountain Resort, Snowbird, Solitude, Sundance, Snowbasin and, of course, Deer Valley.
Disc Golf: Solitude has a beautiful 18-hole layout on its slopes. What better place, right? The idea is to drive or throw a disc, better known as a Frisbee, for distance and then hit a cup or post with a short game.
Olympic Experience: I’ve tried several, but the one that I enjoyed most was a freestyle plunge in the outdoor pool at the Olympic Park. The park offers a two-hour freestyle class, provides all the necessary equipment for splash down and professional instruction. They start you with a simple, front-facing jump and let you choose if you want to go for tricks and bigger air. It gives you a real appreciation for Olympians.
From more info on those mentioned along with horseback rides, miniature golf and climbing walls, check the website of your favorite resort for a list of summer activities. A list of resorts and websites can be found at skiutah.com.